09 July 2008

It's not what you do . . .

It's the way that you do it. Microsoft's Service Pack 3 for XP may have all sorts of good things in it but if you're still using Internet Explorer 6 you could find yourself heading for problems. Now, you shouldn't be using IE6 still as IE7 has been out for ages and is a whole load better but I know plenty of people that haven't updated and I found myself back in IE6 land when all my browsers ceased to function and I finished up having to re-install Windows. (More about that in another post!)

To give you the advice first: install IE7 before XP SP3. If you don't then you may find that none of the updates they release will install successfully, and there are lots of them. I have to say that I find it really annoying that Microsoft didn't think about this before and included some sort of fix for the problem in the Sevice Pack download, or warn people not to download. After all, you have to wait while their on-line tool checks every nook and cranny of your computer before recommending what you should have and you'd have thought that this would have been simple to include in that process. Anyway, it wasn't. The subsequent updates are important, though, and you do need them, if only to stop the list of updates that Windows tries to install growing ever longer (and they include IE7!) and Live One Care or One Live Care or whatever it's called warning you every few minutes that you might be at risk! To which I have been yelling "I know, I don't want to be but you won't let me do anything about it!!"

The reason for this post is that I did a search for IE7 install problems and landed on a whole pile of articles, written by people far more qualified than me, which were without exception doom and gloom-laden and, basically, saying not much more than "you shouldn't have done that" which didn't help much. For a few days I carried on with Firefox, which I much prefer anyway, and just ignored the dire warnings but today I decided that this was ridiculous and Microsoft really should give me a hand.

I went to their Updates support area and after several attempts found the right combinations of words to get what I wanted - a solution at last. It seems that, to work properly, the Updates installation tool needs a certain file buried deep in your registry to work which, if you have things in the wrong order, it doesn't. In my case, I had reinstalled Windows from a CD probably created in the dim and distant past so the file wasn't as it should be.

To save you the trouble, Microsoft offer two methods to get out of trouble at this link. I've seen clearer instructions and if you've never used Start>Run before you may need someone more technically inclined to hold your hand but Method 1 worked for me and I now have IE7 and all the recent updates at last.

The browser does now say it is without add-ons which I've never seen before and so far I have failed to find a way to get it to work normally but as I shall probably only use it for those sites that refuse to function properly in Firefox (Facebook picture uploads, the bank and a few others) I can live without add-ons, I hope.

No comments: